A friend of mine was working on a recipe and shopping list app. He asked me for feedback on some things about it. The concept was great, but there was one thing that I realized could be an issue. The quantity fields were only in units of measurements like cups, ounces, etc. It made me think about the way recipes are written and how people shop for ingredients. A general knowledge of the yield you get from produce is important. Clearly, not all produce is uniform in size, but typically your dish isn’t going to suffer if it calls for one cup of diced pepper and the pepper yields one and a half. Do you really want to spend $1.19 on a bell pepper only to wind up throwing away the part you didn’t use because you either forgot about it or had nothing else to use it for? Is the dish going to be EXACTLY the same every time? Probably not, but it won’t be noticeable. It’s all about adjusting the seasoning and texture with things like salt, pepper, acid, liquid, etc. These are all the “as necessary” and “as desired” ingredients for a reason. Taste and season everything as you go and make your final adjustments in the end. All recipes are simply guidelines. You use the recipe and create the dish how you please. This roasted red pepper and tomato soup uses whole ingredients that are easy to shop for without wasting ingredients. One exception: There will be leftover wine if you must open a new bottle but, is “leftover wine” really a thing?
Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Soup
Yield: approximately 3 quarts
4 Red Bell Peppers
1 T olive oil
1 Red Onion, roughly chopped
1 Head Garlic, Cloves peeled and smashed
½ C Red Wine (I use zinfandel. Cabernet works well too, but any drinkable red will do)
1 28 oz can San Marzano Tomatoes
3 C Chicken Stock, plus more as desired
½ C Cream
Salt to taste
Roast the bell peppers by placing them directly over the range burner fire, turning them as each side blackens. If you do not have a gas range, broil them in the oven on a sheet pan covered in foil. Watch them closely and turn as each one blackens. Set aside in a covered bowl.
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat and sauté the onion and garlic. A little browning is good here.
Once the onions and garlic are sautéed, deglaze the pan with the wine and reduce until almost dry.
Add the tomatoes and simmer over medium low heat for about 20 minutes. (You can speed this recipe up by skipping this step, but I find that canned tomatoes need a bit of time to cook down and develop a better flavor)
When the bell peppers are cool enough to handle, remove the blackened skin using your hand or a cloth. Remove the stem, veins, and seeds, roughly chop, and add to the soup.
Add the chicken stock and simmer for about 5 minutes.
Puree the soup in a blender or with an immersion blender until smooth. Add more stock and puree more until the soup reaches your desired consistency.
Finish the soup with the cream and season with salt to taste.
Pair it with a classic grilled cheese, grilled cheese croutons, or fancy it up with a little crème fraiche, chive or basil oil, and crostini. Don’t forget to pour yourself a glass of that leftover wine.
Vegetarian: Use vegetable stock
Vegan: Use vegetable stock and omit cream. If a creamy texture is desired, use almond milk.